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Engineering | Safe Engineering

Hydrogen Gas

What are the hazards of hydrogen gas? Hydrogen gas (CAS# 1333-74-0) is not toxic to breathe, although it can function as an asphyxiant if it displaces enough breathable air. Hydrogen gas has a low LEL and a broad flammability range, so the flammability/explosivity...

HF Acid, Ammonium Bifluoride, and Other Soluble Fluorides

I've worked with corrosives before. What makes HF and other fluorides special? The following compounds and related fluoride compounds release fluoride ions (F-): hydrofluoric acid (CAS# 7664-39-3) ammonium fluoride (CAS# 12125-01-8) ammonium bifluoride (CAS#...

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO)

DMSO is the classic polar aprotic solvent. It's used in lots of known reactions. Why should I worry? DMSO decomposes with heating, and the decomposition products catalyze further decomposition, resulting in a runaway reaction that has caused explosions resulting in...

Thiols, Mercaptans, and Other Stench Chemicals

What is a stench chemical? Stench chemicals have an extremely foul smell that is detectable by the human nose in parts-per-billion amounts, depending on the compound. While the stench may not be known to have toxic effects, it can still negatively impact laboratory...

Chloroform, Dichloromethane, and Other Halogenated Organic Compounds

I've been using chloroform for NMRs since sophomore organic chemistry. Why should I worry about such common solvents? Chloroform, dichloromethane, and many other halogenated organic compounds readily pass through nitrile gloves. This means that the disposable gloves...